Mattel Cyber Patrol

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The Mattel Cyber Patrol program was a program marketed as a tool for parents to protect their children from dangerous internet sites. It became the subject of controversy in 2000 when two Computer Science students, Eddy Jansson of Sweden and Matthew Skala of Canada, published the source code to a program that revealed the list of internet sites the Cyber Patrol program blocked.[1][2][3][4]

Mattel argued that the cphack program violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- which prohibited "reverse-engineering" a variety of technical methods.[5]

Mattel threatened to sue the authors of the decryption program. And the authors agreed to settle out of court, exchanging the copyright to their paper and their program, in return for Mattel dropping its lawsuit.[2] Many sites had mirror images of the paper and software, acquired before Mattel bought the copyright. Mattel threatened to sue the internet service providers that hosted those mirror sites, if they did not remove the copies of the paper and the software. Many ISPs complied with Mattel's demands. Some stood firm, because the copies had been downloaded under the GNU licence, and the rights given to them could not be revoked. The source code remains available today.

Four months later Mattel sold the division that marketed Cyber Patrol to a company that marketed a rival program, Cyber Sitter.</ref>[6]


  1. Thomas C Greene. Mattel sues hackers, wins injunction, The Register, 2000-03-20. Retrieved on 2008-11-04.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Thomas C Greene. Mattel buys copyrights to Cyber Patrol crack, The Register, 2000-03-28. Retrieved on 2008-11-04.
  3. Thomas C Greene. Cyber Patrol ban list published on the Web, The Register, 2000-04-05. Retrieved on 2008-11-04.
  4. Thomas C Greene. ACLU appeals Mattel ruling, The Register, 2000-04-06. Retrieved on 2008-11-04.
  5. Copyright Law for Academic Computing, University of Texas. Retrieved on 2008-09-28. mirror
  6. CyberSentry Completes Agreements With Mattel; Licenses CyberPatrol Products, Business Wire, 2000-06-26. Retrieved on 2008-11-04.